Comic Relief among charities pledging to end fossil fuel investments
Comic Relief, Power to Change, and Guy's and St Thomas' Charity are the latest organisations that have committed to end all fossil fuel investment and adopt a new ethical approach to investing, after joining the Funder Commitment on Climate Change.
The Commitment sees signatories commit to acting on climate change across six key areas including educating trustees on risks and causes, committing resources to new actions, integrating existing programmes that can contribute to climate mitigation, proactively addressing investment risks, reducing their own environmental footprints and reporting on progress.
The Funder Commitment was launched in November at the Association of Charitable Foundation annual conference by an initial group of fourteen charitable trusts, which has since grown to 33 members.
Amongst the 33 Charities already signed up are the Heathrow Community Trust, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Local Trust and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
The commitment states: “The necessary changes to sharply reduce emissions and to adapt to climate change bring opportunities for new industries, good jobs, a cleaner environment, and improved wellbeing, but also involve significant costs.
“Funders can help to bring about these changes, to ensure that everyone has access to opportunities arising from the transition to a low carbon economy, and to ensure that the costs are not disproportionately borne by those who are least able to pay.”
Comic Relief has already ended all fossil fuel investment and adopted an ethical investments policy which has made profits in the last year.
Comic Relief's interim chief executive Ruth Davison said: “It is vitally important that charities work together to address the climate crisis. As part of our climate commitment, Comic Relief has now stopped investing in fossil fuels and we have adopted a strong ethical investments policy. As we continue to move towards greater sustainability, I am proud we have signed up to this important charter.”
UK charitable foundations provide more than £4bn of funding every year and join the growing lists of funding platforms, pension funds and investors that are divesting from fossil fuels in response to the climate emergency.
Last November, the European Investment Bank (EIB) vowed to stop all financing for fossil fuel projects at the end of 2021 and unlock €1trn in sustainable development over the next decade.
Elsewhere, the likes of Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM), Lloyds of London, Aviva, Allianz, Axa, Legal & General, SCOR, Swiss Re and Zurich and The Church of England have all begun their divestment process. Climate action group Unfriend Coal revealed in its latest report that 24 of the world’s largest investors have collectively excluded coal from $6trn in assets to date.
Power to Change’s chief executive Vidhya Alakeson said: “As a funder dedicated to supporting community business, it’s essential we play our part in tackling climate change.
“We’re investing in finding new energy solutions through our Next Generation Fund, supporting communities to directly own local solar farms through our CORE programme, and we will be using our Community Business Weekend in May to highlight the ways that community businesses are addressing the climate crisis. We are extremely proud to be joining other prestigious funders to sign this charter.”